Let me start today by telling you all exactly what you've been waiting to hear: Lady Gaga is selling her indoor electric turkey fryer for charity and the bid is only at $200 right now. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS?! GO BUY THAT TURKEY FRYER!
Although buying the fryer would bring immense happiness to you Gaga fanatics, let's be honest...there's no real joy in it. As J.D. Salinger said; "The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid." Usually, things that bring us happiness are things we can define; a relationship, an object, money (hence why 'retail therapy' never really fixes anything). Joy is undefinable and because of that, it can really go unrecognized. Joy is much deeper than happiness and something that is in much closer relation to living in fulfillment. Joy is the emotion you feel in connection to yourself and the contentment of those that you value the most.
An example of joy that was once given to me is ordering a pizza. Joy is ordering the pizza that you want when you are not considering the preferences of anyone else. If you LOVE thin crust pizza with mushrooms, black olives, spinach, eggplant, broccoli, and tofu with a pesto base and light cheese, you go for it regardless of what you "should" like (and you also call me, because I think we should be joyful together). The point of this is that joy is what makes you love YOURSELF, not what you think will make others love you. When you wake up in the morning and you know that what you do puts value in your day and your time, you are feeling joy. It lasts and stays with you, for example as volunteers; helping people is what fulfills your heart and makes you value yourself, and that is joy.
Happiness is not permanent, it is fantastic, but happiness is a passing breeze. Finding a $5 bill in the parking lot of the cafe may bring you happiness, and the good cup of coffee you get afterwards produces the same feelings. However, happiness is not something one can really strive for because most of the time the things that bring us happiness happen by chance. Little things that we do for others can bring them happiness, but it is still a momentary feeling.
Joy is something we can strive for, and we can do it by chasing our passions. Sometimes finding what you're passionate about takes some soul searching, but guess what...that soul searching will bring you joy too. When you love and value yourself, you find things that fulfill your heart, and when you do them you are creating joy in your life. Sometimes we can have joy without happiness, and those are the days where we feel like crying and people remind us that we still have people that love us, but as long as we are striving for JOY instead of HAPPINESS, the two will mix together and you will be pouring beauty over the world. Joy is something you can make happen, and happiness tends to be something supplemental that happens by luck and chance.
Some things make me happy, like watching The Office or drinking Bean & Leaf coffee, but each only lasts about 30 minutes at a time. The things that bring me joy are what make me who I am; I find joy in helping someone apply for a job or making sure they can get to their doctor's appointment, I find joy in advocacy for homeless veterans and following Presidential campaigns, I find joy in writing and running. I see joy in other people's lives in the form of keeping our country and community safe, advocating for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, protecting our planet, holding a child's hand as he goes in for an x-ray, designing marketing plans for companies with positive moving missions, helping high school seniors write and edit their college essays, etc. etc.
Where is your joy? What fulfills you? And what kind of pizza would you order if you knew you didn't have to share with anyone?
And are you going to buy Lady Gaga's turkey fryer?